Letter: Negotiations can't happen without people at the tableI have had the pleasure of serving in the Minnesota House of Representatives for seven years and this year, by far, has been the most difficult. This would include 2008 when I broke from my party and over-rode the governor’s veto of the transportation bill.
By: Dist. 22B Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, Worthington Daily Globe
I have had the pleasure of serving in the Minnesota House of Representatives for seven years and this year, by far, has been the most difficult. This would include 2008 when I broke from my party and over-rode the governor’s veto of the transportation bill.
The decisions that we must make to address the budget shortfalls are difficult, but what has been even more troubling is the lack of interaction by the governor and his staff on most of the budget bills.
This is coming from the only chairman whose omnibus spending bill was signed into law.
After working in good faith with all stakeholders crafting the omnibus Agriculture bill and attending the signing ceremony, I was later told the governor said he never should have signed our bill because he was tricked. This was disappointing to say the least. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the process, and we negotiated in good faith, but to be accused of trickery was not only uncalled for but hurtful.
Since January, we worked to craft a balanced budget that funds priorities and reforms government for a sustainable future. In the first 100 days of session, we passed all of our budget bills. We subsequently left the conference committee process open to negotiate with both the Senate and the Governor. After finalizing the complete budget between the House and Senate, with more than a week remaining during the regular session, we continued to reach out to the governor and his administration — but to no avail.
Since the end of the regular session, we have held hearings on budget policy, invited commissioners to meet with our members, and crafted an updated proposal that meets the governor in the areas of K-12 education, judiciary and public safety. We continue to work — and wait for the governor — so that we can finish the job the people of Minnesota sent us here to do.
It is OK to have disagreements. The Republicans think government should live within its means and that increasing spending by 6 percent is enough. The Democrats think taxes should be raised and the state should increase spending by 17 percent. You can have philosophical differences, but you can’t work on a solution if the negotiators refuse to come to the table.
Let’s get back to work — we owe it to the people!